Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Jerusalem. Site of the Virginia jail where Turner awaits his execution and dictates the confessions that form this novel after his revolt collapses. During his last days, the “gray dawn” approaches “stealthily,” and the “pale frost” awakens Turner to the “hard clay” of his cell’s floor and to the “mournful” sounds of the city and the “hysteria” that hangs over Jerusalem “like thunder.” Ironically, when Turner begins his revolt, its ultimate goal is to reach Jerusalem, where he intends to seize the armory so he can supply weapons to his incipient army. Jerusalem becomes his final destination, though not in the way he originally plans. In this depressing atmosphere at the end, under the “gray impermeable sky,” Turner feels, for the first time, not closer to God in Jerusalem, but utterly separated from the God whose will he originally believes he is obeying.
*Dismal Swamp. Large swampy area overlapping southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Turner plans for his followers to take refuge there after wreaking their vengeance on white people, who he believes are incapable of following black people into the swamp. He never reaches the swamp, but the outcome of his revolt proves to be as dismal as the swamp itself.
Turner farm. Place where Nat is born and reared and where he experiences his greatest happiness. When he is young, he is unconscious of his slave status, thanks to belonging to masters who object to slavery on principle. There Nat is taught to read and is promised that he will learn a trade and be emancipated when he reaches the age of twenty-five. He later remembers this farm as a big house with the “golden light” of spring and the smell of newly plowed ground. He remembers flowers, ferns, and the “brilliant fuss of chattering birds.”
Eppes farm. Nat’s second home, located near the western Virginia town of Shiloh, a “grim and pious” little community, where Nat is the only slave and leads a life of dull drudgery. Nat later remembers the community as a place of small farmers, a “bleak and undone brotherhood” of failures from a depression era, along with their “goiterous women” and “worm-infested children.”
Moore farm. Nat’s third home. Here he is whipped for the first time and learns more of the cruelties of slavery. He remembers his first introduction to this place during a bleak winter. There he sleeps in a “dark little cupboard” where he learns to live with “emaciated mice” and spiders. Nat’s plans for killing the white masters begins to take shape while he is living on this farm.
Travis farm. Nat’s final home, which he remembers as “more pleasant acres” than those on which he previously has lived and on which his living accommodations, his “bachelor quarters,” are “cozy.” His memories include a “balmy climate.” Nat feels that he possesses some dignity under his masters, the Travises, whom he regards as basically decent people who let him ply his trade of carpentry. However, it is in the nearby woods that he first experiences a vision of God, which he interprets as divine sanction for his mission.
*Norfolk. Large coastal Virginia town. At both the beginning and end of the novel, Nat dreams about the ocean and his own stark white temple nearby, which he says must have been based on his dreams of Norfolk, which he never actually sees. He dreams of a “barren, sandy cape” with the winds “benign and neutral.” On the promontory stands a serene white temple. This mysterious temple, without doors or windows, seems to represent the ultimate mystery of God, near the ocean of the cycle of life and death.